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Ron Brown Fat Loss Guru Interview

Article care of Don Lemmon

DON: What do you think people most usually do to sabotage their own progress and what is it they do not realize is the net result of their actions?
RON: They confuse short-term weight loss with long-term weight management. Long-term weight management requires much different skills than just going on a diet. Without these skills, over 95% of dieters continue to regain their weight.

DON: True. My system is a lifestyle as opposed to a drop it now and suffer both now and later approaches. What is it if you could get the public to realize it, that you would change about the way they think?
RON: That even though they may correctly guess they are eating less than they are burning off to lose weight on a diet, they can't continue to manage their weight this way for long. If they could always manage their weight by feel and by guessing, they would already be doing it. They need objective feedback to get things in balance first.

DON: I dunno. If you feed the existing muscle correctly, its got nothing to do with expenditure. What is the most misleading method of monitoring fat loss?
RON: Just weighing pounds of body weight is very misleading. Water and muscle losses may show up as fast weight reduction, but it is temporary, and it leaves you with a higher percentage of body fat. You look flat and flabbier!

DON: Not if you monitor the same day each week instead of daily. A pattern will suit if you pick the same day each week to check. Do you calorie count?
RON: Like most people, I ignored calories for a long time, thinking that if I just ate the right kind of foods and got exercise, everything would automatically balance out. But, when standing face to face with clients who, like myself, always gained back their weight, I gradually realized that there might be something to using a more precise method of weight management. However, just knowing how many calories you are eating is not enough. That's only one side of the equation. You also have to know how many you are burning off. Following the numbers allows you to get your calorie intake and expenditures in balance. Then, as it becomes a habit, you don't need the numbers anymore. But most people are very poor at guessing what their calorie balance is without first using the numbers.

DON: Again, burning means nothing to me. Thats work. Feed what you have and what you gain, not what you plan to lose. What is it about the word "Diet" that really tosses your cookies?
RON: It is fashionable to say diets don't work, but it all depends on what you mean by "work". If you mean temporarily lowering weight, then diets work very well. You may eventually need a diet to reduce body fat, but a diet is the last thing you need. First, you need to learn how to stop gaining body fat!

DON: True. I increase my clients calories to drop body fat. What about all this calorie deficit mumbo jumbo?
RON: It isn't how much you increase or decrease your calorie intake and energy output that counts...it's how they balance out with each other! Everyone knows people who exercise a lot and can't lose weight, and they know other people who lose weight with hardly any exercise. And everyone knows people who eat a lot and easily lose weight, while they also know other people who hardly eat and can't lose weight at all. It's all in the calorie balance!

DON: Ok. That didnt tell me what you meant. I simply mean once you determine your lean mass, my book gives you a dead on intake to sustain it and then the body with or without exercise, drops the fat it doesnt need. What are the 4 things you feel are so ignored they are literally secrets when it comes to weight control?
RON: Common sense tells us that controlling the quantity of food you eat is basic. But what isn't as apparent is how the quality of food also affects weight control. Natural foods of high nutritional quality keep our sense of taste alive and responsive...sensitive. This tends to leave us more satisified on normal amounts of food. But, when we burn out our senses on junk food, we lose the sensitivity that so easily triggers pleasure and satisfaction. If you look at a picture of a lean person standing next to an obese person, and you had to guess which person gets more satisfaction from each mouthful of food they swallow, most people would guess it was the obese person. But, I would put my money on the lean person. We don't develop insatiable appetites because we are getting too much satisfaction. We develop insatiable appetites because are sensibilities have become jaded, and we are not getting enough satisfaction.

DON: I tell people at first good clean food is weird because the body doesnt recognize the nutrients because we have gone so long without. Once it recepts, you will reject the junk. How does a body composition table and energy balance (chart) work?
RON: I created the body composition tables in my book The Body Fat Guide. They are based on anthropometric formulas that have been around for a while. Most people can quickly get a reasonable estimate of their body composition by looking up the table in the book with their weight and waist size...no confusing calculations.

DON: That's easy enough and the same thing I do. Each extra waist inch on a man or a woman equals a certain amount of fat over your lean mass. Makes it real simple actually.
RON: By the way, I wasn't sure how I was going to create the tables when I started writing the book. Eventually I learned how to use a spread sheet program. I remember when I completed the page layout of the tables with all the formulas in place, I pushed the enter key on the computer, and the whole page filled up with numbers! The Energy Balance Chart is basically like an accountant's balance sheet. It's where you can see how changes in your body composition match up with modifications in your diet and activity. This is where you make sense out of all the numbers. Changes in the numbers guide you toward your goal, so you don't waste a lot of time and effort.

DON: Does body composition replace other means of measuring progress?
RON: There are many goals one may achieve from one's training: fitness, health, appearance, strength, athletic skill. Obviously body composition analysis is not going to accurately indicate how fit, strong, healthy or beautiful you are, or how far you can throw a baseball. It's just another measuring tool.

DON: What about for gaining weight?
RON: Gaining the right kind of weight is just as critical as losing the right kind of weight. The rate of gain can often affect the kind of weight you gain. Lately, I have taken Covert Baily's advice to not expect more than a maximum of 1 pound of fat-free muscle a week. Greater gains are possible, but they aren't usually totally fat-free. Also, there is a difference between the rapid replenishment of depleted muscle mass and new muscle growth.

DON: I have clients averaging up to 4 pounds of fat free weight a week for months on end. One gained 91 pounds in 53 weeks. And dropped fat. What have been some of the more remarkable results experienced using your system?
RON: How the majority of normal people of average athletic ability and possesing average discipline consistantly make progress amazes me. I especially like it when doctors ask me for advice! And the anorexics continue to be a high priority concern with me. I have helped a number over the internet.

DON: Uh, you lost me. I feel sorry for people who blame a weak thyroid for their weight problems, do you?
RON: No matter how much one's metabolism may change due to age, disease, stress, climate, etc., there is always a just-right amount of diet and exercise to suit everyone. Before I let them quit, I say, "Show me the numbers!"

DON: Well, actually a thin person has an active thyroid. A fat person does not. But the fat guy after weight loss does. It reverses. And the thin guy gone fat is the same, it slowed. So what I meant was, being reversible, I feel bad for those thinking it's not. What about supplements?
RON: It is my policy not to give advice about supplements except to say the following: Supplements are designed to supplement food, not replace food. A balanced diet requires no supplements, and supplements can not replace a balanced diet.

DON: What do you think of vegetarians?
RON: Bulls, oxen and stallions are vegetarians. Supposedly the human anatomical strucure is more suited to thrive on a vegetarian regime. It has been proven to help prevent disease. Vegetarianism is a noble
notion.

DON: Proven by who? We are not cows. Are we not men? (DEVO) I tend to eat my foods without any added flavoring either way. You suggest the same?
RON: The closer we can get to eating our food as it comes direct from nature without any artifical preparation, the better. Another noble notion. The point about these notions is not to always take them so literally. They are a guide. You get out of it what you put into it. That's what I tell people about my book.

DON: Well, only natural flavors of course. No chemicals. How well rounded and self-sufficient is the program you describe in The Body Fat Guide?
RON: It is written to be a stand-alone work for anyone interested in teaching themselves the principles of weight management. However, not everyone can learn from a book. I am anticipating that there will be many opportunities to help the public learn and apply this information through one-to-one training, classes, and through the broadcast and print media.

DON: So it is a tool to get personal clients? Hmm. Clever idea. How do you increase lean body mass? I have my way, what is yours?
RON: I use a 4-day mass building routine.
DAY 1 arms, shoulders and back, 45-minutes
DAY 2 chest, legs, abs, 45 minutes
DAY 3 off
DAY 4 off
Repeat routine.
As you can see, in this type of mass gaining routine more exercise isn't necessarily better. This routine leaves plenty of time for rest, recovery and maximum growth to occur. For variety, I sometimes eliminate DAY 4 if I am feeling energetic. I can also move one of the rest days and put it between DAY 1 and DAY 2. The main thing is that I cover all body parts in no more than a total of 90 minutes of training, leaving 72-96 hours recovery time for each body part. A routine like this allows me to gain 1/2 pound of muscle every 4 days. I stay in positive calorie balance by 300-500 calories each day, adjusting this amount according to changes in my body composition. I put more emphasis on pumping blood into the muscles with higher reps, although I will throw in some heavier low-rep sets along the way.

DON: Sounds like you should be huge? Now that I am acting, I am only interested in an athletic build. Not bodybuilding nor fat loss. Which is more important in fat loss...Nutrition or Exercise and why?
RON: I love exercise, but it is a double-edged sword for weight-loss purposes. It burns calories, but it also increases your hunger, at least in the long run. Control of food intake, on the other hand, is essential, although, as you have indicated, one may still eat alot of food and keep things within control.

DON: Well sure. You exercise. You stimulate muscle growth. The body requires more food. If you limit it, you begin to store fat. Simple. How do you get your clients to make a lifelong commitment and realize this isnt a fad but a lifestyle?
RON: By pointing out that lifestyle change is the only known way to permanently control their weight. The question is: how do you make those changes? You can't just wake up one day and decide you will have all new habits. You have to progressively develop them. That means using a method that allows you to measure changes in your body composition as you monitor and modify your energy balance. Eventually the modifications become new lifestyle habits.

DON: I do not believe foods are fattening. I believe preparation is the problem. Do you agree?
RON: If by preparation you mean, for example, adding butter to a baked potato, I think that misses an important point. How the fat added to the potato gets from the butter to your body fat is all a question of the balance between how much you eat and burn. Calories absorbed from any food are only fattening when you go over your daily calorie allowance. So what's your allowance today?

DON: 2900 calories. Either way, it wont digest properly. Do you think people should adopt a lifestyle attitude?
RON: Waking up one day and attempting to change your lifestyle by assuming a new attitude usually doesn't last very long. In fact, it usually only lasts until your hunger catches up with you. In the battle between hunger and attitude, I put my money on hunger every time!

DON: Youre only hungry if you starve or limit fats. Developing new lifestyle habits is a slow and progressive day-by-day process. Attitude obviously plays a role in this, but I think its role is often overstated. Most people start out with a good attitude. They wouldn't mind be healthy and attractive. But too many "experts" try to pass off attitude as their main product instead of providing solid information on developing weight management skills. When people's attitude sours it's usually because they have failed so often in the past. No matter how well-intentioned your attitude, you can't make it on disciple, desire and determination alone.
RON: In addition to a normal healthy attitude you also need the weight mangement skills to measure and modify your energy balance, and that takes time to develop. In fact, you can develop and apply these weight management skills without hyping up your attitude much at all! Just follow the numbers and forget about it as you get on with your life!

DON: How can they when the media has them thinking everything should be put off for now until they are 'ready'?
RON: There are many excuses people use to deny their weight issues. One of them is that they have to heal their self-esteem first. But self-esteem is built through accomplishments. Achieving and maintaining your weight management goals is one of the best self-esteem builers there is! It also helps develop objective problem-solving abilities that can be applied in other life areas. You can't lose the weight until you lose the excuses.

DON: I agree. Where does one get such objective feedback?
RON: The energy balance and body composition numbers don't lie.

DON: What ensures a person they do not end up saggy looking?
RON: I describe a painted balloon in my book to illustrate how losing and gaining lean body mass affects your appearance. The paint on the balloon represents your subcutaneous layer of body fat and the air inside the balloon represents your lean body mass. As you lose muscle by letting air out of the balloon, the layer of paint clumps up and sags, like your layer of body fat. As you expand the balloon with more air, as when you gain lean body mass, the balloon's skin tightens up.

DON: I dont understand. Thats not how it works. You tighten as you go or youre stuck dealing with it on a new diet again. What is calorie counting to you and how does it benefit us?
RON: Calorie counting is how you measure and modify your energy balance. Your energy balance is the balance between your calorie intake and your calorie expenditures. When attempting to permanently control their weight, most people can't get their diet and activities in proper balance by feel. They need to count up the numbers, like balancing one's bank account.

DON: How do we know what is enough or too much?
RON: Changes in your body composition guide your modifications.

DON: People dont have that kind of time and patience. They want the truth and direct answers. What do I do if I am bodybuilding and want drug like effects with just food?
RON: In my opinion the anabolic drug effect is due to an intramuscular bloating similiar to how cattlemen bloat up cattle before taking them to market. This is not true growth. If it were true lasting growth, the size wouldn't disappear so rapidly when the drugs are withdrawn. The gain in your waist size that accompanies this bloat tends to destroy your overall proportions. If you just want to get big, then add body fat. It takes up more volume per pound than muscle. Carbohydrate loading also fills out muscles, but if you were losing body fat properly, there should be no need to do this because your muscles wouldn't be depleted.

DON: Thats totally wrong. Reviewing your answers, it seems you miss my point or avoid the punch. You have a lot of valid issues here though. But vegetarianism. There are as many studies showing these people are dying from different and more serious diseases than meat eaters and meat eaters that are studied are usually the obese and not the fit like myself and athletes. Have you ever been a part of a study? Or do you base your research on unproven literature?
RON: My book documents the research of Dr. T. Colin Campbell of Cornell University and his work with the Oxford-Cornell-China Project.Vegetarian people in China die from different diseases due to poor sanitation and hygiene, the type of diseases we don't see in our culture much any more. We are dying from degenerate diseases that appear in the more Westernized portions of China where they eat more animal foods.

DON: I was talking about here in America, not China and neither one of us were witness to Dr Campbell's studies so I am not certain of their existance nor results personally. Is your system a set up for the back end sale or do you offer a limited amount of free counseling for the customer?
RON: On my web site, I offer a free weight control support group called Flab Fighters. I also answer people's questions for free and post them on my web site at Fat Talk!

DON: These questions arent meant to attack you, they are to enlighten the reader. Cool?
RON: Thanks for asking me to do this Don.

Don Lemmon's Nutritional and Exercise Know How

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